Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lakers-Spurs -- Game 4 thread

Lakers win, 93-91.

2.1 seconds to go. Horry inbounding the ball to Barry, who is bumped by Fisher and fires an errant shot at the buzzer. Terrible shot. You have to get a clean look there. It matters less who takes the shot, but how open it is. Barry had Finley open to his right, and Ginobili and Horry to his left. Instead, Barry tried to draw a foul and took an off-balance shot that he released from his hip.

To save the season, what does Pop come up with? A two to Duncan, who would likely be fouled and have to tie the game at the line? A three for the win? If so, is it Ginobili, Finley, Barry, Horry?

Spurs force a Fisher air ball, but Horry can't secure the defensive rebound. Two seconds left on the shot clock, 5.6 in the game. Let's see what Jackson comes up with on a quick out-of-bounds play. Bryant forced deep to catch the inbounds pass, fades a long 2 that comes up way short. Spurs call timeout.

Ginobili for 3. Bryant misses on a breakaway layup. Parker scores for 2. Spurs within 2, 93-91. 28.1 seconds.

Bryant misses, but Odom is fouled on the offensive glass. Offensive rebounds were the difference early and now late. Lakers up, 93-76. 56.5 seconds to go.

Parker rolls one in. Spurs down 5, 91-86. 1 minute left.

Duncan inside. Spurs down 6, 90-84.

Gasol beats Duncan to a key offensive rebound, which results in a jumper by Fisher. Lakers, 90-82. Duncan looked a step slow in reacting to the ball off the rim and then trying to track it to the corner.

Barry for 3. Spurs within 6, 88-82.

Kobe dunks off a turnover by Oberto/Ginobili. Lakers on a 7-0 run, 88-79. 3:26 left.

Odom past Oberto. And 1. Lakers, 86-79.

Odom dunks from Gasol. Lakers, 83-79.

Ginobili's 3 attempt for the lead was rushed and way off.

Following Kobe's lead, the Lakers have completely thrown the offense in the trash. Everything is isolation. Farmar just tried to go 1-on-4 and threw up an air ball with the shot clock near zero. Big test for LA: Can these guys trust the offense? Kobe can still get the shot, but it will be a cleaner look if it happens in the triangle.

Ginobili a step-back 2. Spurs within 2, 81-79.

Kobe another long 2. Lakers, 81-77.

Bryant is back and immediately drills a long 2. Lakers, 79-75.

Barry for 3, his fourth. He has 18 points. Spurs within 2, 77-75. 10 minutes to go.

Spurs are going to ride Duncan, who is getting a post touch every trip right now.

Bottom line is that the Spurs, given their current roster, have very little margin for error against a quality opponent. Every player needs to do his part. When one falters, such as Ginobili tonight, it's very, very difficult for them to win. The Lakers, meanwhile, are the better, deeper team. Odom is 2-for-6, Gasol has a quiet 10, yet LA is in position to get a huge road win and grab this series by the throat.

Vujacic for 3. And 1. Lakers lead, 77-70, after 3. Spurs missed their last seven shots of the quarter.

Ginobili to the line. First point at 1:32 to go in the third. 2-for-2 at the line. Spurs within 1, 71-70.

Parker ties it with a short jumper. 65-all.

Spurs are hanging close, but the Lakers are controlling this game: the flow, the rebounding, and Bryant hasn't exerted much energy to get his 20 points. He should be fresh down the stretch to try and steal this one.

Lakers close the half on an 8-2 run to lead, 53-47. They have 11 offensive rebounds, and lead the overall battle of the boards, 28-14. They're outworking the Spurs, who won't win if they don't limit second-chance opportunities.

Tony Parker is unstoppable in the open floor. And 1. Tie game, 43-all. No player is faster end-to-end, but what makes him truly special is the ability to make small changes in direction without slowing down. And he gets just enough of an angle on the defender to avoid a charge.

Barry has been a savior tonight: 12 points. His two free throws pull the Spurs within 3, 43-40.

Ginobili is 0-for-3 with a turnover in 11 unproductive minutes so far.

I can't believe we're stuck with Marv Albert in this game. The guy who gets screwed when TNT only has one series left is Kevin Harlan, who is superior to Albert.

Spurs close the quarter on a 15-6 run to stay in the game, down 28-23, after 1.

Lakers with five offensive rebounds already.

Parker was just matched up in the corner with Fisher, who was in triple-threat. Parker initially closed out a 3-point attempt. Fisher jabbed once, then Bryant walked into Parker's peripheral vision as if he was going to set a screen. Parker took a peek at Bryant. Fisher then jabbed again, creating just enough room to launch a successful 3-pointer. Fisher's only threat in that situation is a 3-point attempt. Parker should have crowded him to force either a dribble or pass.

Lakers efficient at both ends. Bryant 4-for-4. Lakers, 22-8.

Ginobili in. Spurs down, 12-4.

Gasol and Odom going strong to the board at both ends. Lakers lead, 10-4.

As expected, the Spurs played with a tremendous amount of urgency in Game 3 and picked up a home victory in must-win situation. Manu Ginobili rebounded from a pair of sub-par games in LA and delivered 30 points. Is his ankle healed enough to do it again?

Can the Lakers, meanwhile, take a big step toward a title? Winning Game 4 for an all-but-over 3-1 advantage would do it.